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Toyota wins 24-hour race, in a hybrid. Image by Toyota.

Toyota wins 24-hour race, in a hybrid
Forget the technicalities, the fact that Toyota has won a race in a hybrid is a big deal.
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| First Hybrid Race Win | Tokachi 24-Hour Race, Japan | Toyota Supra HV-R |

Toyota has made motor racing history by being the first manufacturer to win a competition using hybrid power.

The Tokachi 24-Hour Race, held over last weekend, saw the modified Toyota Supra HV-R win by a considerable 19 laps. Though the Supra was technically the only car in its class, it's still a worthwhile achievement.

Toyota is using racing as a test bed for developing lighter and more efficient hybrid systems for its road cars. In only its second attempt the car manufacturer developed a race-winning hybrid system using data from last year's attempt, where a Lexus GS450h finished 17th. The second-generation hybrid racer utilised an improved energy-regeneration system that operated with greater efficiency thanks to two 10kW motors mounted into each front wheel plus a partnering 150kW rear-axle electric motor. The four-wheel drive Supra was then capable, via the three motors, of recovering energy under braking and heavy deceleration.

Furthermore, Toyota did away with conventional rechargeable cells, instead installing a quick-charging capacitor system to meet the demands of repeated, full-performance acceleration and deceleration that racing requires.

The hybrid technology created some interesting figures. Using a modified Super GT-version 3UZ FE engine displacing 4,480cc, the race car developed 473bhp at 6,800rpm whilst developing 376lb.ft of torque at 5,600rpm. Weighing only 1,080kg, the Supra was good for 437bhp per tonne.

Toyota's Hybrid X concept, shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March, could be one such example of the manufacturer's attempt to promote hybrid power into the future using technology derived directly from racing competition. We hope to see more at the Frankfurt Show in September.

Kyle Molyneux - 20 Jul 2007

Toyota Supra is first ever hybrid to win a race. Image by Toyota.Toyota Supra is first ever hybrid to win a race. Image by Toyota.Toyota Supra is first ever hybrid to win a race. Image by Toyota.     - Toyota road tests
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